What a better occasion to re-enter the blog world, Hogmanay, yet another pagan holiday (mostly from the Scottish Highlands) usurped by humanity at large and made its own. Auld Lang Syne was adapted from a Robert Burns poem and the Times Square illuminated ball originated from the fireballs (contraptions of chicken wire, tar, and paper attached to ropes) marched through the streets on this night and swung high until cast into the harbor or other body of water. And yes, the crowds this custom gathered rivaled those in New York City (can anyone say New York City without thinking about that salsa commercial? I can’t.)
So Happy Hogmanay to everyone. May a handsome guest cross your threshold at midnight bearing gifts of salt, coal, shortbread, and whiskey. Feed him well and offer him great hospitality and the upcoming year shall be one of great fortune and health. Hey, I’ll try anything at this point.
Leap back one week and we find ourselves where I last left you, wishing you a Merry Christmas and unsure whether the tree would get decorated, the presents wrapped, or a holiday-worthy meal prepared. Well, it all happened somehow.
Somewhere in the fog of the 23rd and 24th, I pulled out my one anal retentive quality and trimmed the tree.
Felina was not happy about this. She was digging her new arboreal lifestyle. In retribution, she proceeded to break some of my ornaments. This is not a good thing, Martha. She received no turkey or plum pudding on Christmas Day even after she so insincerely meowed “God Bless Us Everyone” while balancing a crutch under one leg. The Poser.
Thankfully, my favorites made it (knock on wood). Papa Snowman taking his wee snowson on an adventure.
Our token black Santa (I mean this in all unseriousness)
Our heavily underbitten bulldog
And, of course, the dear wee baby Jesus, made by local Native American artisans.
We even have a pickle on the tree. It’s a Scandinavian good luck charm. I’ll hang ram nuts on the tree if it will bring us good luck.
The presents were wrapped as well, though their looks began to suffer as the Scotch tape began poisoning my bloodstream. I particularly loved it when, thinking I was finally finished, Hunky Husband plopped down his business associate gifts in front of me and looked at me imploringly. Yup, I wrapped them, too.
In the end, it was all worth it. Even the napkins I sewed (and no, I did not finish all three sets though I did fall asleep at the sewing machine trying) became holiday fodder.
No Christmas cracker hats for us, not when the opportunity to play pirate presents itself.
The best part? Watching the holiday through the eyes of a three-year-old whose excitement at opening each and every gift expanded upon itself until I thought he would bubble over. “My toys, my toys!” he shouted with glee. Even the pajamas and jacket he received were greeted with such joy that, at that moment, nothing could be more perfect.
Yes, Christmas offered me a memory strong enough to hopefully push back my sometimes glass-half-empty nature even when faced with illness and hardship and for that, I will be forever thankful. Granted, I am hoping the whole 2008-rhymes-with-great fortune is a true one and we will not endure another year like the one that just passed, at least farm-wise. We’d be plum out of livestock and then what would I call this mess I write?
Oh, and if you were wondering? Next Christmas, I'm leaning more toward Cordelia's way of celebrating the holidays. It would definitely cut down on the stress level.